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Jack's Diner expansion; Dollar General update

Two commercial development issues drew more than 30 Chester residents to Town Hall Monday night, Sept. 26, as the Development Review Board attempted to address construction plans for each, both of which sit along Route 103 South.

The more contentious of the two, an expansion of Jack's Diner, 521 Main St., would allow for seating of 96 as well as add a bar.

Two apartments would be built in the rear, above the expansion. With a building permit in hand, construction has already begun. But owner Jacques Dodier has not been given the required conditional-use permit and has not presented the DRB with site plans.

On Tuesday, zoning administrator Michael Normyle said he issued the building permit because the expanded footprint was within town regulations. However, Normyle added, “Because it was a substantial change, I told him he needed to come back for a conditional use permit.”

A conditional use is a is a purpose that is allowed under the town's zoning regulations, but specific plans must be approved by the DRB. According to town zoning law, a property zoned residential-commercial must get a conditional-use permit for a multi-family dwelling.

MOUNTAIN VIEW RESIDENTS CONCERNED
Residents of the Mountain View community, which sits behind Jack's Diner, are complaining about the project.
During Monday's meeting, one questioned how the diner property could accommodate parking for employees, tenants and restaurant patrons as well as the necessary dumpsters.

Another, who lives directly behind the restaurant, said, “I don't really want a bar there. I have two small children and there are other small children in the neighborhood.” She also presented photographs of flooding along her property, claiming that site work Dodier did on the property pushed dirt against a stone wall and gave the runoff no place to go.

DRB chairman Peter Hudkins replied, “We can't help with the current water (problem), but we can prevent more.”

She also said Dodier “took out the trees. I used to look at the trees. Now I look at a diner. Soon I will be looking at a bar.”  Her husband said, “I grew up in the house, been there since 1983. We never had problems like this until Jacques started working on the property.”

OWNER ASKED TO RETURN WITH PLANS
Dodier was told by Hudkins to return to the DRB on Oct. 24 with plans addressing elevation, parking, drainage, lighting, dumpster location and site layout, land contours and landscaping, a floor plan and a plan for a 1,000-gallon tank. In an August letter to the DRB, Jeff Holden, superintendent of Water/Sewer, suggested the use of the 1,000-gallon tank to accept oil and grease from the diner and replace the use of a grease trap.

The town's wastewater treatment system has been having “huge” problems with grease and oils getting into it and, Holden wrote, “We … are currently testing the problem areas … and will be … requesting some businesses to do updates or to pay discharge violation fees.”

The issue was recessed until 7 p.m. Oct. 24. In the meantime, DRB members agreed to make a site visit of the Mountain View community to assess their concerns.

Dollar General Subdivision

Also Monday, the DRB recessed its hearing until Monday Oct. 10 on plans to subdivide the Zachary's Pizza House property in preparation for sale of a 1+ acre parcel to the company that owns Dollar General stores. The project engineers needed to fix certain maps before the hearing could continue. The DRB then decided to hold the subdivision hearing just before the Dollar General conditional-use hearing. The DRB hearings begin at 7 p.m. at Town Hall, at Elm Street and Route 103.


Write About Your Community

We are seeking people who would like to write once a month about what is happening in their community. Content could include but not be limited to: births, deaths, engagements, weddings, graduations, military news, successes such as principals' and deans' lists, and promotions, sports, moving in, moving out, crime, community events, new businesses ...

This is the chance to celebrate your community and let others know what a great place your neighborhood is to live. It also gives you a opportunity to know your neighbors better and to use your writing and reporting skills.

Whether you live in Flamstead, on The Green, in Stone Village, The Depot, Mountain View, Gassetts, Popple Dungeon or in a community that doesn't really have a name (maybe you can create one), you have the opportunity to connect with it and with a wider Chester community. For more information email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 875-2703 and ask for Cynthia.

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Comments

Thank you so much for reporting on the DRB meeting. It is so helpful to get a rundown on what is happening in local politics and commercial development in town. I would so appreciate getting a regular update on these town hall meetings since I cannot always attend. I have always wished we had a local newspaper that covered select board and DRB meetings and would keep people abreast of town developments and proposals. This type of factual reporting (aka a local newspaper that covers municipal issues) is sorely lacking in Chester and is a hole that needs to be filled. I hope sharing the facts and the jist of these meetings and neighborhood happenings will keep people informed, which will in turn promote more civic involvement and strong community organizing. The more informed and educated I am about any issue - the better I am able to make good choices, decisions and actions for myself. Big Props to ChesterUnited for getting this community communication ball rolling in a positive and civilized way.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011
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